NEW BEDFORD – Nobody would blame Kim Camara if he wanted to have law enforcement throw the book at the young boys who stole bicycles from his Yesteryear Cyclery, but instead he chose to use it as a teaching moment, not only for the kids but for all parents as well.

Over the weekend, three young boys made multiple trips over to Yesteryear, reportedly from a nearby housing project, and proceeded to cut the cable that tied all the bikes together. In a video posted on the business’ Facebook page, Camara said the boys “stole six or seven” bicycles from outside the building, bicycles that Camara and his staff collect and refurbish in order to provide to homeless and needy children.

Camara said the boys were 12, 13 and 15 years old.

“It just broke my heart to see this happen, knowing that there are so many good kids in the world that have to see this,” Camara said. “I had to do something about it.”

Just after noontime on Wednesday, August 7, Camara posted security footage from the surveillance system on the Yesteryear Facebook page, clearly showing the boys stealing the bicycles.

“Not really to chastise them, but maybe to have the public realize these boys need to be reprimanded and need to be made to go on the right path of life,” Camara said in a subsequent video. “There’s so much bad going on in the world these days, I just like to do my little part to help it…I didn’t want this to happen to these kids to be demoralized, just reprimanded and taught a lesson.”

Camara said the post caught the attention of the Shannon Project, whose representatives go into the local projects and try to work with at-risk youth to put them on the right path. He said they knocked on doors, got all of the bikes back, and got the parents to come and apologize to Camara.

���The kids were embarrassed,” he said. “I decided not to press charges. If they had asked me, I would have given them bicycles.”

By showing compassion instead of conflict, Camara is hoping to set an example for the boys and for others.

“Hopefully, these three boys will learn from this to never do something like this again,” he said, noting there’s a lesson for parents as well. “Hug your kids, and teach them the right way of life.”

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